When you just need to escape the world for a little while, there’s no better way than to pour a glass of wine and lose yourself in a good book.
Okay, maybe a trip to a Balinese dayspa with a limitless supply of chocolate would be better. But a book… next best. Truly.
So, in the spirit of sheer escapism and self-indulgence, I’d like to start a virtual bookclub. Each month, I’ll pick a favourite read to recommend, and share a review. If you’d like to join in, you can read the book sometime over the course of the month and share your thoughts.
Love it? Hate it? I want to know! I’m a complete book nerd, so I get geekish pleasure at the thought of having a real Literary Discussion. But (ahem) don’t let that scare you off.
Sound too hard? Pfft. One book a month is easy peasy. You can do that. You’re always saying you want to read more, right? Take some time for you. Besides, I pick great books… trust me. 😉
So now that I’ve twisted your arm persuaded you, I’m getting in early for the month of October with one of my all-time favourite novels.
Here’s the blurb:
Jack is five, and excited about his birthday. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures eleven feet by eleven feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside…
Told in Jack’s voice, Room is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Unsentimental and sometimes funny, devastating and yet uplifting, Room is a novel like no other.
I cannot say enough good things about this book.
Telling the story from the child’s perspective makes it a very fast read, because the language is simple, and yet profound and often beautiful as well. The author nails Jack’s voice.
The premise is grab-you-by-the-throat-and-don’t-let-go powerful. This story sucked me in completely – the outside world ceased to exist.
At first, the mystery is what kept me reading. Why are Jack and Ma in the Room? Why has Jack never seen the outside world? Toward the middle of the story, the tension mounts to unbearable levels. I read until the early hours of the morning to find out what would happen. I NEVER do this. I have little kids to get up to in the morning. But the characters had become so living-and-breathing REAL to me that I couldn’t stop until I knew they’d be okay. At times I found myself holding my breath. My heart actually pounded. I don’t remember another book ever affecting me this way.
Lest I give you the wrong idea, I should clarify that this book is not a thriller. It’s what I’d call a psychological drama. There are dark themes underlying the premise, but because the story is relayed from a child’s perspective, it has a remarkably innocent quality. The author has taken a disturbing subject and presented it with childlike warmth and even moments of humour.
The deep question raised by this story is about the nature of reality. How do we know what is real? Are we imprisoned within our beliefs, our narrow ways of looking at the world, just as Jack believed the four walls of Room were the boundaries of his universe? It’s an age-old metaphysical question, but the author doesn’t bang you over the head with her philosphical ponderings. Instead the story itself is an allegory – and a powerful one, for those deep thinkers out there.
Room is haunting, suspenseful and deeply moving. It will stay with you long after you finish. I want to be Emma Donoghue when I grow up.
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